Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Religious Origins of Halloween...

To trick or treat, or not to trick or treat, that is the question. Today is the perfect time to reflect on the religious reasons why we're about to dress up like animals, celebrities, and assorted inanimate objects.

From a synagogue newsletter (don't you love the irony)...

The word itself, "Halloween," comes from a corruption of All Hallows Eve. November 1, "All Hollows Day" (or "All Saints Day"), is a Catholic day of observance in honor of saints. Candles for those who have passed away are lit in Catholic churches on the evening of October 31. It was also believed the disembodied spirits of all those who had died throughout the preceding year would come back in search of living bodies to possess for the next year. Naturally, those still living did not want to be possessed. So on the night of October 31, villagers would extinguish the fires in their homes to make them cold and undesirable. They would then dress up in all manner of ghoulish costumes and noisily parade around the neighborhood, being as destructive as possible in order to frighten away spirits looking for bodies to possess.
  

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